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Baker's Dozen

I Don't Belong Here: Cathi Unsworth's Weirdo In 13 Albums
The Quietus , July 25th, 2012 07:17

Author and journalist Cathi Unsworth talks us through the albums that inspired her new novel Weirdo. This feature will bring dark joy to the hearts of those whose clothes are black, whose lips are purple and whose witches are red

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Spear Of Destiny The Grapes Of Wrath

I’m torn between this, One-Eyed Jacks and Theatre of Hate’s Westworld album. What nudges it over is the mesmerising opening track ‘The Wheel’ which continues to haunt me down the years with its fairground imagery and Lascelles James’ awesome, squalling saxophone, which is the perfect foil to Kirk Brandon’s whispering vocal incantations. There is a fantastic clip of them performing this and ‘The Preacher’ on Youtube that I have watched about a million times now. I never got to see Theatre Of Hate live, unfortunately, but Spear Of Destiny were my next-favourite live band to The Sisters and I love their first two albums.

Kirk Brandon looked so brilliant with his white flat-top and Davey Crockett jacket. Every boy I knew either wanted to be him or Ian McCulloch. I have some funny photos of those days with rooms full of Kirks and Ians. And then Morrissey came along and they all wanted to be him. I have noticed a lot of teenagers starting to look rather Kirklike again, which is interesting – I like that mix-up of Fifties rockabilly and Western, cowboy styling with a gothy edge more than just straight adherence to one creed. TOH and the unfortunately abbreviated SOD did that with their music, too. When I listen back this now, I realize why I loved Gallon Drunk so much the first time I saw them, there is a definite linkage of musical intent and stylish presentation going on there.

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Jul 25, 2012 1:27pm

Great stuff! Maybe it's because I spent my youth in a seaside town during the 80's but most of these (very very unfashionable) albums are all very familiar. And I've come back to them and still find most of them to be a great listen, on whatever level. Not sure where Madonna and Jacko fit in tho... Gonna buy the book right now.

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Jul 25, 2012 2:01pm

yeah,great list.I like most of the stuff here,Bunnymen,Sisters,early Cult,Bauhaus of course... recently discovered Spear of Destiny through Paradise Lost cover of Never take me alive.awesome band,great find!!

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Jul 26, 2012 12:49am

Some fine choices here, the Echo, Bauhaus, and Smiths albums were worn out by this kid as well, right around the same time. Morrissey takes many cues from his favorite writers, so it's a cool kind of circle that this writer should take some cues from him.

Was sad to see the Cult move away from their post-punk beginnings but I've been a fan of all their material nonetheless. She mentions the Chameleons, was surprised to find none of their albums were on here. No worries tho, they're still overlooked by most.

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Jul 26, 2012 2:46pm

I am thrilled to find somenone whose love of 'Smalltown England' is equal to my own.

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art damij
Aug 14, 2012 2:09pm

cool list,great to see crass,bauhaus,killing joke,sisters in well as nods to theatre of hate..good call cathi!

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